After graduating from film school in 2008, we discovered mobile apps as a potentially great medium to distribute our work — especially to explore new possibilities for storytelling and new audiences. The two of us also met that year and it was clear to us from the beginning that we wanted to work together and be as independent as possible while doing so.
I had seen Steve Jobs’ keynote in which he introduced the iPhone SDK and App Store earlier that year, and I recognized it as a good opportunity to create and distribute our work outside the conventions of the established system. An opportunity that, most importantly, lets us be independent and focus on the creative part rather than the bureaucracy of getting a project funded — something which young film-makers often face.
After securing some funding from a friend, we started New Mindflow in 2009 with the idea of exploring games as a new medium to tell our stories and engage our audience in a way that isn’t yet possible with films. We had a couple of great projects and we were set on hiring graphic artists and developers to get them done. But after almost two-and-half years in which we had numerous setbacks and our high standards conflicted with our limited budget and the high costs of producing a great game, we re-founded the company in October 2011 to give commercial life to some of our artistic projects.
For now, New Mindflow is just the two of us, Rares Kovesdi and Anamaria Chioveanu. All of the content in our first app, Where’s Paradise? (film, photos, and text) is made by us, and we also designed the UI and did all the coding for development. By using Corona and Kwik, that last part was by far the shortest. Preparing the content and app design took almost a year, building the app with Corona and Kwik took less than two weeks!
Given our artistic background, we have no experience or training as coders. However, with Corona and Kwik we not only managed to produce an app that we are happy with and proud of, but more importantly the app is very stable and responsive — something that isn’t the case with a lot of interactive eBooks we’ve seen in the App Store.
Even though the app has yet to see any real success, the experience of making it was a great one for us. We got to make a film and put a “digital photo exhibition” together; I (Rares) got to realize my techie side and Anamaria got to rekindle her passion for drawing while making the map and app icon. But, most importantly, we have proven to ourselves that we can still continue to make the apps we want, even without outside funding.
For now, New Mindflow will be focusing on bringing to market some of our artistic projects, including an illustrated interactive storybook in the near-future. Nevertheless, we still have some game projects in development about which you can find out more by going to the Projects section of our website.
Getting back to the app, the Where’s Paradise? series puts side-by-side the western idea of paradise (small tropical islands with white sandy beaches and coconut groves) with the actual lives of the people that live in these often remote places. The first episode focuses on the island of Nusa Lembongan, 20km southeast of Bali.
We like to think of the app as a new kind of book; a new medium for presenting a film and exhibiting photos. A new way of seeing an artistic vision come to life!
To find out more about Where’s Paradise? (the apps and the overall long-term project) head over to our website.